'Richard & Judy Show'

Rowling on her appearance on the Richard and Judy Show, June, 26, 2006.Date: 26 June 2006.
Source: 'Richard and Judy Show,' Channel Four Corporation (UK).
Interviewers: Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan.
Context: Jo had been writing Book 7 for a bit over a year.
Transcription credit: Roonwit.
Audio: offsiteaudio1 | offsiteaudio2 (via The Leaky Cauldron)
Video: offsitevideo1 | offsitevideo2 (via The Leaky Cauldron)

[Clip from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" movie]

Richard: And Jo joins us now. And I love that clip because it epitomises for me what is really good about the later of your books. We just left this valley of pain and distress which is bringing up adolescence, you're about to enter it.

Jo: Oh Good. Something to look forward to then.

Richard: It is just as bad as you think its going to be, I can tell you. But that's what's lovely about the sequence of books. You can see Harry turning into a grumpy adolescent and all those around him going through those adolescent pains. You draw it very accurately, and you don't have adolescent kids yourself. Is that just based on friends and conversations with friends who have got them?

Jo: Well I taught teenagers for a while. They were my favourite age group to teach in fact. So I think I drew a bit on that, and I drew on memories of how grumpy we all were when we were teenagers. We weren't the ... My sister's here to watch this and she was very grumpy so I drew a lot on her.

Judy: Is she older than you?

Jo: She's two years younger than me.

Judy: I know what I want to happen at the end of the whole Harry Potter thing, I want Harry to marry Ginny Weasley and I want Ron to marry Hermione - no I don't - yes I do, I want Ron to marry Hermione and I will be so upset if it doesn't happen. But of course the last one at the moment is residing in your safe?

Jo: The final chapter is hidden away, although it has now changed very slightly. One character got a reprieve, but I have to say two die that I didn't intend to die ...

Judy: Two much loved ones?

Jo: Well, you know. A price has to be paid. We are dealing with pure evil. They don't target the extras do they? They go for the main characters, or I do.

Richard: We don't care about the extras. You told your husband - obviously you confide in him all things ...

Jo: Well, not everything. That would be reckless.

Richard: That would be stupid, lets be honest. You did tell him which ones were for the chop and apparently he shuddered and said "No, not that one."

Jo: He did on one of them, yeah.

Richard: All the papers that have been promoting this interview today clearly want us to ask you do you kill off Harry Potter, which is a ridiculous question because are you likely to say yes or no? Obviously not. You couldn't possibly answer that, but have you ever been tempted to do him a little more harm than he has suffered

Judy: He's suffered enough, he's been though the mill.

Jo: How could I? Every year of his adolescence and childhood he saved the wizarding world and then no-one believes him - he spends his entire life saving the world, and next term he is back at school being bullied.

Judy: There is this great Harry Potter who has just saved your entire school and all your skins ...

Jo: And everyone just thinks he is a bit annoying.

Richard: I was dodging around the death bit, because I know you can't answer that question, But you know how Conan-Doyle got sick up to there of Sherlock Holmes ...

Jo: Yeah.

Richard: ... so pushed him off the cliff at the Reichenbech falls, I'm not asking if you have done that obviously, but have you ever been tempted to bump him off because it is such a huge thing in your life.

Jo: I've never been tempted to kill him off before the end of book 7. I have always planned seven books and that is where I want to go, where I want to finish on seven books. But I can completely understand the mentality of an author who thinks "Well I am going to kill them off because that means there can be no non-author written sequels as they call them, so it will end with me and after I am dead and gone" - they would be able to bring back the character and write a load of ...

Richard: That never stuck me before. I thought it would free you up.

Jo: Agatha Christie did that with Poirot, didn't she, she wanted to finish him off herself.

Judy: Well you say you can completely understand it, but you are not going to commit yourself to whether ...

Jo: No, I am not going to commit myself. I don't want the hate mail, apart from anything else.

Judy: When you started off, when you first thought about Harry, what came first, was it the idea of the magic or the character Harry, or the boarding school, were you a big keen reader of boarding school stories?

Jo: I read a few when I was younger.

Judy: Angela Brazil?

Jo: I never read Angela Brazil, I read some Mallory towers and they don't bear re-reading but when I was six I really liked them. But I think Harry and magic came together so the essential idea was a boy who was a wizard without knowing he was a wizard, that was it, that was the premise, and then I worked backwards from there - how could he not know, so that is where all the back story came and there is a lot of back story as you know, and in fact now I am in book seven, I realise just how much back story there is because there is still a lot to explain and a lot find out.

Richard: You must have had to invent the back story further, further down the line, you couldn't possibly have started with this massive ...

Jo: Oh no, of course I didn't. I've got I don't know how many characters in play, but I've got a lot of 200 or something ridiculous ...

Richard: But did you think as you were writing the subsequent books - "Oh why did I write that ..."

Jo: Yes.

Richard: "... in Book 2 that screwed me and I can't write such and such now."

Jo: Yeah. Never - I don't think I have ever done that on a really major plot point, but certainly a couple of things I have hit a snag, and I have thought well I have boxed myself in - if only I had left something open earlier then there would be an easier way to wriggle through that hole, but I have always found a way.

Richard: Like chess.

Jo: Well it is a complicated plot, and the resolution is ...

Judy: Yeah, keeping it all in your mind ...

Richard: But is the last book finished now? Judy says it was in your safe, I know the last chapter ...

Jo: No, the last book is not finished, though I am well into it now.

Richard: But you have written the finale already?

Jo: I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990? - oh hang on - I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990.

Judy: Really, so you knew exactly how the series was going to end.

Jo: Well pretty much yeah.

Judy: Gosh.

Jo: I've been lambasted for that by a couple of people. I think they thought it was very arrogant of me to write the ending of my seven book series when I didn't have a publisher and no-one had ever heard of me, but when you have got absolutely nothing you can plan whatever you like can't you, who cares?

Judy: Absolutely, and before we ask how you started writing the other thing that stuck all of us including our son who is a megafan was when the books started to get darker, the whole evil-good thing started to get much stronger and I think that was - well it was a bit darker with the mudbloods in the second book, but in the Prisoner of Azkaban that's when it got really heavy ...

Jo: The dementors.

Judy: With the dementors, yeah, all of that, and was that something you intended all along, or did it just develop?

Jo: I did intend it all along, because as Harry grows up, these parallel things are happening aren't they, Harry's getting older and older and more and more skilled, and simultaneously Voldemort is getting more and more powerful and he is returning to a physical form, because of course in the first book he isn't a physical entity really - but people have always said that to me - and I agree that the books have got a lot darker.

The imagery in the first book where Voldemort appears in the back of Quirrell's head, I still think is one of the creepiest things I have ever written - I really do - and also the image of the cloaked figure drinking the unicorn blood this thing slithering across the ground which they did very well in the film of Philosopher's Stone, I think those are very macabre images so I don't think that you could say from the first book that I wasn't setting out my stall(?) really, I was saying that this is a world were some pretty nasty things happen.

Judy: Yes I know that but what I am saying is that what I started to see was parallels with things like racism and ...

Jo: Yes, definitely.

Judy: ... apartheid and genocide and all that sort of stuff.

Jo: That was very conscious, that Harry entered this world that a lot of us would fanticize would be wonderful: "I've got a magic wand and everything will be fabulous" - and the point being that human nature is human nature, whatever special powers and talents you have, so he walks though, well you could say the looking glass couldn't you, he walks into this amazing world, and it is amazing, and he immediately encounters all the problems you think he would have left behind and they are in an even more extravagant form because everything is exacerbated by magic.

Richard: You can run but you can't hide.

Jo: Definitely, yes.

Richard: You have talked about having a game plan of seven books from the word go, before you even had a publisher, and you must have been doing back-handsprings of delight when the Philosopher's Stone got published.

Jo: Yes, I was.

Richard: Any author, to have their first book published ...

Jo: An unbelievable moment yeah.

Richard: What pleasure, and optimists.

Jo: You could pretty much say that nothing since has come close, but that is testimony to what a moment of euphoria that was.

Richard: When did the euphoria change to something ...

Jo: to terror?

Richard: Well maybe it was terror, but at what point in the books did you think, "well hold on, this isn't just a best seller, this isn't just quite a nice series where I am enjoying and the readers are, this is unprecedented." It has been said that if you put all the books that have been bought, that you have written about Harry Potter, end to end they go around the world, around the equator nearly one and a half times, and we ain't finished yet. When did you wake up and think "this is historic?" Because it is historic, you will go down in publishing history, over probably the next three centuries

Jo: I honestly don't think of it in those terms, although for the first books I was in real denial, about, I really lived in denial for a long time.

Judy: about the fame?

Jo: Yeah, totally. And I think that is where my reputation for being somewhat

Richard: recluse?

Jo: Po-faced came from, because I was like a rabbit caught in the headlights, and the only way I could cope was it's small not really that big a deal, you know, and things keep on happening, journalists start doorstepping you and you pick up a paper and there are causal references to Harry Potter, that's the freakiest thing, is that it permeates odd stories and it becomes - that's more of an indication to me how big it has become than anything else.

I remember there was a phase where I didn't buy the papers, because it was becoming a bit strange to me, and normally I devour newspapers, and then, it was Wimbledon - this was a few years back - and I thought, it is safe to read Wimbledon, stop being so ... get over yourself, so I picked up this paper and I turn to this account of a match with Venus Williams and they said, I just saw Harry Potter staring up at me, and they were talking about bludgers, you know the balls in Quidditch, and they were saying that her serve was so powerful, it was being compared to a bludger, with not much explanation, but that was very cool - things like that are wonderful.

Richard: But that's the fame thing. That's entering the lexicon of ordinary dialogue, what they call water cooler conversation, and that's not just to do with reading the latest book, its a continuous thing with you now. What about the wealth? And I don't mean to be prurient about that because it is just want it is, but you are unbelievably wealthy, beyond the dreams of avarice, really. How has that changed life for you?

Jo: Well, it's great!

Richard: Thank you for saying that.

Jo: Frankly, not to crack out the violins or anything, but if you have been through a few years where things have been very tough and they were very tough, and it's not so much romanticised, but it is dismissed in half a sentence, oh "starving in a garret," and occasionally I have thought "well you try it pal, you go there and see" - it wasn't a publicity stunt, it was my life, and at that time I didn't know there was going to be this amazing resolution, I thought this would be life for twenty years.

Richard: But did you ever feel guilty about the amount of money, because ...

Jo: Yeah, I did, I absolutely did. There came a point where, because initially I have to say that initially people were reporting, and they still do frequently report much more than I have got - I am not pretending I am not hugely wealthy because I am - but sometimes they print figures that certainly my accountant wouldn't recognize. But in the early days they were saying I was a millionaire and I was nowhere near a millionaire. So that's weird and mind-warping when you are used to counting every penny

Richard: Seventy quid a week you were on?

Jo: Yeah.

Judy: So, What was happening to you was that basically, there was you the same as you had ever been, writing this book that you were thinking about and writing for ages.

Jo: For donkey's years.

Judy: And suddenly it took off, just this one book, and the next book, and you suddenly realised that this person, you, actually had taken on a life of her own, which wasn't you at all, and you were completely...

Jo: I think that is completely accurate and think that you sit there thinking but I am still the same idiot I was yesterday, but suddenly people are interested in what I have got to say and my response to that was to clam up a lot because I felt that suddenly this light had been shone on me, underneath my stone, and it was a time of real turmoil when I first became subjected to that kind of scrutiny, because I felt a loyalty to the person I had been yesterday, and I didn't want to say "oh it was dreadful" because it really hadn't been dreadful and we'd been doing okay and I'd been teaching and my daughter would still say, said to me yesterday in fact, that we were happy, so I didn't want to sit there and say "oh it was all dreadful, and now it is fabulous, darling, because I have got a bit of money."

Judy: And is your daughter - your two new ones are still too little but Jessica who has been with you right from the beginning really and she adapted to it okay?

Jo: She's been phenomenal, and it hasn't always been easy for her because, well you can imagine, your mother being J.K. Rowling. At one point I can remember her being pretty, metaphorically speaking, up against the school railings, tell us what the title of the next book is, isn't not terribly easy

Judy: Up against the school railing by?

Jo: By other children, trying to get titles out of her and things, but she was amazing, she was very cool.

Richard: And what about - its not so much to do with the wealth, though it might have been actually, but certainly the fame thing - before you met your lovely husband, your incredibly lovely husband.

Jo: Yes he is a lovely husband.

Richard: Rock star looks, before that the dating ...

Judy: [picture] There he is.

Richard: ... between the relationship that led to your lovely daughter, and him, there was a period where you found this immense wealth and success, and you have said that dating was really tricky, really hard, was that because you expected guys to be coming on to you because of who you were.

Jo: It wasn't so much that. To be perfectly honest with you, dating is just tricky if you are a single mother. That's it. And the other business was a vaguely complicating factor, but by the time you have got a baby sitter, the reality of life was, and I didn't have a nanny for quite a long time, I didn't have properly organised child care because I think I was just - again I was in denial about it, that I needed it, and then there came a point where I clearly needed it, I couldn't cover all my professional obligations, even though I was trying to keep them minimal.

Richard: You wanted to say "I can cope, I can handle this."

Jo: Yeah, I did which is very much in my personality to pretend I can cope with things, and not ask for help, until I've cracked up a bit.

Richard: Well, we are all like that.

Judy: So coming back, looking to where you are now personally as well as career wise professionally and all that, you are in a very good place, touch wood.

Jo: Yeah.

Judy: Not that there is any wood around he to touch but - You are very happy, you have a lovely family ...

Jo: I am really lucky and I think that every day, I swear, every day I think how lucky I am.

Richard: Just looking at the constant theme - we will take a break in a couple minutes but then you're back and we've got some children in with questions but before they arrive - as you've said yourself, the theme of the books is death isn't it?

Jo: Largely.

Richard: It is a hugely powerful theme, and you were writing the first one when your mother died, she was 45, and you were very close to her and had you envisaged that death would be such a powerful theme before her death, or did it inform that sense of loss?

Jo: Definitely informed it. In the first draft - I had only been writing Harry for 6 months before she died - and in the first draft I finished off his parents in a rather flippant way - and then mum died, and I just couldn't finish off his parents in that flippant way, I couldn't, not now knowing what it felt like to lose a parent. That's very, very different.

Judy: So that is why Harry's parents maintain this presence...

Jo: They do maintain, yeah.

Judy: ... in the photographs...

Richard: And in the mirror, of course.

Jo: And in the mirror, yeah.

Richard: And when you wrote that, I would be surprised if you were say that perhaps you shed a few tears, when you wrote those sequences, when Harry sits there lost in reflections.

Jo: That is my favourite chapter of the first book.

Richard: It's a lovely chapter.

Jo: It's one of my favourite chapters in the whole series.

Judy: That's what so reassuring about the books, they do deal with straight forward evil and death, you always seem to leave a thread somewhere, even though they're inside ... I love all the headmasters, the past headmasters and teachers in their little frames ... Just to end this particular section: I always loved that - what was his name - the one who was always putting his hair in curlers, the Professor...

Jo: Gilderoy.

Judy: I love that idea of him, in the evenings sitting in that thing, taking his curlers out, putting them in and everything. There is a great deal of humour in the book as well, and presumably that is just part of your character?

Jo: Yeah, I think so, though you wouldn't always imagine it from the way I am described, would you, the old curmudgeon. But yes, I think so.

Richard: Well, as you say, the last chapter is in the safe, you are tidying up the rest of the manuscript, but this is the last of the books, that's it?

Jo: Yeah, well I have always said I might do a kind of encyclopaedia of the world for charity, just to round it off.

Richard: But that's not the same as the creative ...

Jo: No, absolutely not. It is not the same as a story.

Richard: Can you live without Harry?

Jo: Well, I am going to have to learn, its going to be tough.

Richard: Why not extend it to nine then, seriously why stick to the seven? Is it too much to ask to do ...

Jo: Because I think you have got to go out, when you've...

Richard: When you have done it?

Jo: Yeah, I think you have. I admire the people who go out when people still want more. And that's what I want to do.

Richard: But I am also told, well actually I read this in Tatler [link to article] , maybe it is an unguarded comment you made, that you have already completed another children's book for younger children.

Jo: Oh yeah. Its not completed, but its pretty far on - about half way.

Richard: How long has that been in your mind for?

Jo: Not nearly as long as Harry. A few years.

Richard: And are you happy with it?

Jo: I really like it. It's for younger children - it's a kind of a fairy tale - it's a much smaller book, so that would probably be a nice thing to go to after Harry, not another huge tome.

Richard: Is that the future then, can you envisage yourself picking up another huge idea like Harry Potter and running it over ...

Jo: If I liked the idea enough I definitely would, but I don't think that I'm ever going to have anything like Harry again, I think you just get one, like Harry.

Judy: Well, I think most people are hoping that in some point in your life that you will come back to him in some way, shape or form there will be something, you will have generations ...

Jo: Harry Potter's mid-life crisis?

Richard: Should he survive to see one?

Jo: Should he survive to see one.

Judy: We'll take a break here.

[End of Part One]

Richard: Now just a little statistic here: more people than the combined population of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, more people, have bought a Harry Potter book. It’s an astonishing literary success story. We’re delighted to have JK Rowling on our show today... the creator of the most magical, but also surely - health and safety people please note - the most dangerous school in the history of British education, Hogwarts.

[Ferret scene from Goblet of Fire is played]

Judy: We are delighted have J.K. Rowling on our show today, the creator of the most magical, but also surely - health and safety please note - the most dangerous school in the history of British Education; Hogwarts.

Judy: And, kids are here, Jo's here. Just before we get to you lot, it is true about Hogwarts.

Jo: Yeah, it is.

Judy: It is terrifying, How do they get away with it?

Jo: It is fantastic, isn't it.

Judy: And what was the other I was going to say? Oh, yes. Draco - Draco the guy who plays Draco Malfoy is much fancied by ...

Jo: By everyone.

Judy: By everyone. Do any of the girls hear fancy Draco, in the films?

Jo: Not after Cedric, surely?

Richard: They're not going to admit to that, are they, on camera.

Judy: You are not going to tell me are you?

Richard: Where's Luke sitting? Luke, how old are you Luke?

Luke: Eight.

Richard: Have you read all the books?

Luke: Not really, no.

Richard: Not all of them?

Jo: Don't know who Harry Potter is!

Judy: You've got a good question for Jo though, so what is it Luke?

Luke: If you were a character in your books, who would you be?

Jo: Probably Hermione, because she was loosely based on me when I was younger, I was quite annoying like that.

Judy: What brainy, were you very much a booky, a booky school girl?

Jo: Yeah, I was. That sort of annoying person who underneath is very insecure. Hermione is a combination, I think, of my sister and me.

Judy: So you were the one who would put people in their place with quotations and things that you had learned?

Jo: Well, I don't know I would go that far, I was swotty.

Richard: Did she deck them with a left hook?

Jo: No, she was more the house elf thing, she was a bit more political, and bit more hysterical about ...

Richard: Were you head girl?

Jo: I was head girl, but that meant being voted least likely to go to Borstal [a British reform school] if you went to my school. That wasn't a massive accolade to be perfectly frank.

Judy: Sorry, school. If you are watching.

Jo: Oh yeah, sorry.

Judy: Now your favourite character is, Luke?

Luke: Harry Potter.

Judy: Definitely Harry, is it.

Jo: Oh, that's interesting because not a lot of people like Harry best.

Judy: Really?

Jo: No, in fact it is a tiny percentage. I remember seeing a poll on one of the unofficial fan sites, something like two percent of people liked Harry best.

Judy: I love Harry.

Jo: Ron's much more popular.

Richard: Okay, where's Ella sitting? Ella, how old are you please?

Ella: I'm thirteen.

Richard: Okay, I am not going ask you if you have read every single book, but I am told you have. You want to ask about a Boggart?

Ella: Yes.

Richard: Just remind us of what a Boggart is.

Ella: You like, say a spell to a sort of a cupboard, and then what you most fear comes out.

Richard: Right, so in my case it might be a huge spider?

Ella: Yes.

Richard: Or in Judy's case it might be me? Okay, fine.

Judy: So what do you want to ask Jo?

Ella: I was just wondering, if you stood in front of a Boggart, what would you see?

Jo: I'd see what Mrs. Weasley sees in Order of the Phoenix. She sees her - this is a bit awful - she sees her children dead.

Richard: Oh, gosh.

Jo: I know, it is a bit disturbing.

Richard: You are dark, aren't you?

Jo: Sorry, well I think for any mother, probably that's the worst thing you can possibly imagine, and that's what she sees as the war is starting, and she knows her sons are going to be involved. That's what she worries about.

Richard: I've forgotten how do you counter a Boggart? What's the counter spell?

Jo: You have to learn to laugh at it. Quite hard to laugh at that one though, and in fact she can't. Someone else saves her from it and she can't banish that image.

Judy: [to Ella] You like Hagrid best don't you?

Ella: Yes.

Judy: I love Hagrid.

Jo: Hagrid has a huge fan base, yes.

Judy: I wonder if Hagrid is for the chop? Shame in'it? She won't tell us so there's no point in asking. Who else have we got? We've got George, George Lynch? That's you, George L. there. Hi, and what do you want to ask Jo, George?

George: My question is, are any of the characters based on people you know?

Jo: Well, I did mistakenly say that Lockhart was based on someone I had known.

Judy: Oh, really.

Jo: Yes. And that got rather an annoying lot of newspaper space because they thought it was the wrong person. They went after the wrong person.

Judy: He is the very vain one that we were talking about before.

Jo: Yes, and I barely exaggerated, believe it or not. Someone I knew quite a long time ago.

Richard: Was he in television?

Jo: No. There are a lot of Lockharts knocking around are there in television?

Richard: They are all a part of TV.

Judy: I love him.

Jo: That was the only time I sat down and consciously thought I am putting X in as a character, and I did.

Richard: And did you like X?

Jo: No, I absolutely loathed X, as I think probably comes across by making Gilderoy Lockhart.

Judy: Do you think X knows?

Jo: No, I think X's egotism is such that X is probably wondering around saying "We were like that. She adored me. She wanted to marry me - I turned her down." believe you me.

Richard: You know Carly Simon had a very private dinner for charity with the person who nominated the most, and she told them who was the character of "You're so vain" - her first hit song - you should do the same thing in a few years, you should say I'll tell you who ...

Jo: Well, I don't want to ruin X's life.

Richard: He sounds a complete S-H-I-T

Jo: I know, I still don't want to ruin that person's life.

Richard: All right, okay. That was a great question George which got a great answer.

Judy: He's a Ron Weasley fan aren't you?

Richard: Who's next? Is it Shian?

Cian: Cian.

Richard: Cian. I am so sorry, Cian. I do beg your pardon. How old are you Cian?

Cian: Ten.

Richard: And what's your question?

Cian: After Harry Potter, what are you going to write next?

Jo: Well, I kind of answered that before the break. I think I will finish another book for children, but younger, slightly younger children that I've got knocking around. So I quite like that ...

Richard: A shorter book you said.

Jo: Much, much, much shorter, yes.

Judy: And will you be really sorry when the last book comes out, of Harry?

Cian: Yes.

Jo: I will too. I'm going to really, really miss it.

Judy: And Elly? Not Ella but Elly? Hello Elly, you're thirteen aren't you.

Elly: Yeah.

Judy: What did you want to ask Jo?

Elly: Who did you write Harry Potter for? Was there someone special that inspired you or ...?

Richard: Good question.

Jo: It is. I wish I could say something lovely in response but it was really me! It was just something that I really wanted to write. When I had the idea I thought that would be such fun to write, and it has been.

Richard: Did the idea just fall out of a clear blue sky, or did you wait for ...

Jo: It really did.

Richard: Really? You wake up at three in the morning with it there or what?

Jo: I was on this train, Manchester to London, and it just came, just came.

Richard: Fully formed?

Jo: Pretty formed.

Richard: Really? A putative state?

Jo: Not the whole thing, but the essential idea came and we were delayed, and I just kept adding bits in my mind and by the time I got off the train, I had a lot there. I really had a lot.

Judy: The puns are great like Diagon Alley. [to the children] Don't you just that, Diagon Alley?

Jo: I like that.

Judy: It's great. Juliet.

Richard: One more quick question on that, oh damn it is out of my head now. Go to Juliet and I'll think it back.

Judy: Okay, Juliet.

Juliet: Have you always wanted to be an author?

Jo: Always. Since literally as soon as I realised that books didn't just pop up out of nowhere, that people made the stories. I've always wanted to do it. I can remember being extremely young, and copying words without knowing what the words meant. So I think it is just inate. I just wanted to do it.

Judy: You loved words, yeah. You wrote when you were about five or six and you used to write little tales.

Jo: That's right.

Richard: I know what the question was. You obviously - because of the penuary that you lived in, in that initial period - you were writing famously in cafes to keep warm, and while the baby was asleep in the pushchair and stuff. Do you still write in cafes?

Jo: Mmm.

Richard: You find your muse still?

Jo: I won't be saying where I go funnily enough.

Richard: I wasn't asking that, but you do, just to get the buzz, the vibe, the things like that?

Jo: It's habit. It's now so deeply ingrained. I write best.

Richard: Fascinating.

Judy: Okay, who hasn't asked a question? Aaron, Nathan and George. So Aaron, very quickly, what's yours?

Aaron: Is it hard to think up the rules of Quidditch?

Jo: I did it all in about half an hour, after a row with my then boyfriend. And I think that is where the bludgers came from.

Richard: Okay, Nathan?

Nathan: What inspired you to make such creative animals?

Jo: Well, some of the animals I make up, like the Blast-Ended Skrewts are all mine. But many of them exist in folklore and mythology, and I've twisted them a bit to suit my own ends. There is not a lot on Hippogriffs if you go looking, so I just created my own Hippogriff.

Judy: And George, you are the only one left. But tell us your favourite character.

George: My favourite character is Hermione.

Judy: Hermione? I love Hermione.

Jo: No. You are the first boy who I have ever met whose favourite character was Hermione.

Richard: Really?

Jo: But did you like her before Emma Watson started playing her?

George: Not so much.

Richard: You fancy Emma Watson.

Jo: You like Emma Watson. A lot of people do. [Play out music starts]

Richard: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now out in paperback. We're so glad you came on. Thanks a lot for doing that Jo. It's been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you.

Jo: Thank you very much. [Shakes hands]

Jo: Thank you.

Richard: See you tomorrow, guys. Bye-bye.

Judy: Bye-Bye. Thanks, kids.

Cite as: Madeley, Richard and Judy Finnigan. “J.K. Rowling,” Richard and Judy Show, Channel Four Corporation (UK), June 26, 2006. URL:  http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2006/0626-ch4-richardandjudy.html